Food Etiquette - Leave its/Drop its


09 Mar
09Mar

Leave it

This is what we ask our dogs to do BEFORE something is in their mouth! 

See below for how we teach this!

  1. Start very easy! We want success. Offer Fido a closed fist with treats inside, ask Fido to leave it, then when Fido stops bugging at your hand, and backs their mouth away, tell them to “take it” 

  2. Before we move any further, we need to first before step on even, teach our dogs what “take it” means. Take a hand full of treats and tell Fido “take it” before you feed Fido each treat, there! Now they know “take it” 

  3. Practice with the closed fist full of food, until Fido consistently backs his or her head away when we say “leave it” then we want to up the criteria and start expecting eye contact! 

  4. We teach this by offering the closed fist and saying leave it, waiting for Fido's head to back away, and then waiting Fido out. They will either look to your eyes because they aren't sure why they haven't gotten their reward, or we coax them to look to our eyes with a kiss noise or click noise. Once Fido looks at our eyes, we say “yes” and then “take it” and offer the food we have asked them to leave!

  5. Practice with the closed fist and eye contact, until Fido can do it every time we ask for it! Once we feel we haven’t had to give Fido our no reward marker, for at least 10 times in a row, then we can move to an open hand!

  6. We follow the exact same steps, but with our hand open this time! If Fido makes a mistake, we just say that “uh uh” (no reward marker) and close our hand. Then we can re cue Fido to try again. Go through the same steps to get eye contact, and then from there you can move to have the item placed on the floor

  7. Once the item is on the floor, you want to ensure if you have said leave it, you can cover it in case they make a mistake or try and get the item. Start with lower value items when moving to the floor. This is when we want to show them that not everything that we ask them to leave, they get to take! So we will ask them to leave something on the floor, and then when we say “yes”, we want to pick up the item off the floor and then offer them a reward from our treat pouch!

  8. Now that’s not every time! They may sometimes be allowed what we ask them to leave on the floor, so vary when they get it and don’t get it so they never find a pattern and don’t try and get the dead bunny or chicken bone we ask them to leave! 

  9. Practice all of this inside, in a low distraction environment and move up to being outside in a less distracting area and moving to more distracting outdoor areas! And remember when we up the value of the treat, be in a lower distraction area, when we work in higher distractions areas, then we want to use lower value items! 

  10. After we teach them to leave food placed on the floor, we want to practice with dropping food or items and asking them to leave it when we drop it. Try and make it so your dogs leave it is really solid before you hit this step, as it is harder to cover up or make it so they can’t get what we’ve asked them to leave, as it could bounce or might be multiple things dropping

Food bowl ETIQUETTE

We all want that dog who has their bowl put in front of them, and can wait until their owner gives them a release cue, before they eat that bowl of food. Here is how you get that! 

  1. Ask Fido to sit

  2. Present the food bowl, if Fido jumps, turn your back and put the food up.

  3. Present the food bowl again, if no jumping, start to place it near the floor, if Fido's bum pops up, you say “uh uh” and then take the food bowl away. 

  4. Represent the bowl, if Fido keeps their bum on the ground, place the food on the floor, and immediately say your go ahead cue, such as “okay” this means Fido is welcome to eat. 

  5. Keep present the bowl, and taking it away if Fido's bum pops up, or putting it down if Fido can stay seated. 

  6. Once Fido can stay seated until the food is on the floor and you say “okay” Immediately, then we want to start to try and make the time between the food bowl hitting the floor, and Fido eating, longer! We do this by placing the food down, and taking it away, if Fido start to try and eat before we have said okay. 

  7. Every time you feed Fido, try and make them wait a little bit longer before you give that release word (“okay”) and never ever let Fido eat the food if we haven’t said okay yet! 

  8. Work them up to longer times and have fun! My dog Dobby waits for as long as I want him too, then gives me a paw, and lets me kiss his nose, and then I say “okay” and he is welcome to eat! This is great brain stimulation! Making Fido work for their food! 

Drop it

  1. You essentially will be trading Fido treats for items In their mouth at first. 

  2. Ask Fido to drop an item, and then present them with a treat in front of their nose. 

  3. If they drop the item or food, say yes and reward Fido extra, including the food you presented them

  4. If they wont drop it, try and shove the food behind the item in their mouth so that Fido has to drop what in their mouth, in order to eat the treat.

  5. Ask for drop its with all sort of items, lower value to start, working up to higher value

  6. don’t reward drop its you didn’t ask for, this can create a cycle of Fido bringing you things to get food. 

  7. Start in a low distraction environment and move up to more distraction at Fidos pace. When you do though, use low value items for Dropping and high value treats to trade fido with

  8. Better food then what fido has in their mouth, makes drop its work very smoothly

  9. don’t always take the item away completley, sometimes do, but sometimes gIve it back, or throw it for them. 


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